Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why Do I Have To Sell More If I’m Fine With What I’m Selling Now?

Why Do I Have To Sell More?
Last week while I was talking with a friend of mine who runs a couple companies which had their golden days during the years in which Spain enjoyed its time of greatest abundance.

Obviously, sales in both his businesses were moving forward effortlessly, almost as if in autopilot: new customers with fresh money on their hands were flooding the market, every product was almost brand new to everyone in an environment just recently born, being this the main reason why his sales were basically flowing.

However, he then started to share with me the problems he was having with the sales area and I was caught by surprise: In the nearly ten years he’s been running his companies, he’s never had a sales department as such, not even a sales process.

His situation has been what in sales we call "order takers", basically people whose work has been to manage incoming orders from customers, without having to do anything to get them to buy.

And that is a common ground from which many companies have been born and raised throughout time: markets were so dynamic and eager-to-buy that the words "planning" and "management" became simply fancy terms to bring up during any business conversation.

The difference between "simply selling” and "selling properly."

Of course every company can survive selling enough to cover expenses and generate a bit of profit. And doing so many companies have made it through. The problem is not selling enough to cover expenses and generate some profit. Believe me: the problem is not there.

In the previous section I mentioned two words: "planning" and "management". And the secret for all profit driven departments, such as sales, is not to simply make enough money but "to properly plan" sales so that all expenses are paid for, generates a decent profit and also to brings in money enough to pay for any unpredictable situation.

"Unpredictable situation?", you might be asking.

You got that right. Unpredictable situations: market fluctuations, economic downturn, unfavorable legislation, more aggressive competitors, changes in your workforce, and all those situations that usually never happen but, when they do, it can really become a nightmare for most business owners.

You have done very good sales in the past, however, it doesn’t mean you'll continue to do the same in the future.

Anyone can sell, especially when markets are receptive and have plenty of customers who want to buy and have the money to pay for things. Selling on such a favorable environment is easy.

But we all know this favorable situation has been left behind us long ago and yet, many people still keep the same mentality and haven’t realized that what they sold then is not even enough to survive nowadays, and now realize they need to sell more, much more. I hope you're not one of them.

And to sell more, you definitely need to sell properly.

Going from a rough stone to crafting a precious jewel.

As every time I make this kind of statement, I’d like to explain myself with an example, in this case I'm going to talk about talented people.

There are millions of talented people throughout the world for many different activities: music, arts, sports, science, etc. However, only a small portion of them get to develop to their full potential. Why is that?

If you want to sell more and properly, you must professionalize your sales process.

Simply because talent alone is not enough to reach your best performance and bring you to the next level.

For a singer, for instance, it’s not enough to have a wonderful voice: his music must be wonderful, lyrics have to be sticky and please the public to whom it’s aimed, as an artist he also must be physically and mentally prepared to cope with the harsh days of trials, the long trips from one place to another, and a thousand other things.

As you can see, talent by itself won’t make it, but also being professional and thoroughly trained for an increasingly competitive and demanding market. It is like the process for converting a rough stone into a masterpiece, a real jewel.

And the same goes for the sales area of your business: It’s not simply about receiving purchase orders from excited buyers, but being capable of selling to a bigger market and do it on a professional way.

What does it mean to sell more and do it on a professional way?

Selling ​​more and doing it on a professional way simply means not being satisfied with what the market itself can offer and going a step forward to develop your own  mechanisms to generate a growing demand and reach a bigger portion of the market.

If until yesterday you were able to sell 40 product units each month, selling on a professional way will allow you to sell 60 units or even more.

But how is it done?

  • Understanding the sales process of your company must go beyond “taking orders”.
  • Understanding your whole offer must be continually renewed so it meets the needs of a market in constant movement.
  • Offering your sales staff frequent training, not only about your product but also new sales techniques and tools.
  • Knowing in depth who your customer is and what their needs are, so you can properly identify additional sales opportunities.
  • Understanding the sale does not end when the customer signs the contract or pays the bill, but instead that moment is just the beginning of a business relationship which should last the longest.

We could go on talking for hours on how to professionalize a sales department, but I'm sure these tips will help you go beyond the "I-am-happy-with-what-I-am-selling-today” thing to “I have the opportunity to bring in more business”

Isn't it a better way to look at your business?

Photo credit: Christophe Fouquin | See portfolio

I recommend you reading the following posts on this blog:
Make Your Business Grow: What Actions Can You Take To Sell More?
What Role Should Salespeople Occupy Within Your Company?

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